Conciliation is bringing people together to settle a problem. This can offer a satisfactory outcome for all. The conciliator will help both parties to try to reach an agreement.
The conciliator can't impose a settlement.
What is a conciliation conference?
A conciliation conference is a face-to-face meeting held by the conciliator with the people directly involved in the complaint. The meeting is an opportunity to:
- talk about the matter and look for ways to resolve it
- discuss openly, as nothing said or done can be used in further proceedings
- reach an agreement without admission of liability
- resolve the problem impartially and confidentially.
What to expect at a conciliation conference
At the conciliation conference:
- both parties will come together to discuss the complaint
- the other party is able to make suggestions about what they might be prepared to do to resolve your complaint
- the conciliator can also suggest ways to resolve the complaint
- if you are unable to agree on a resolution your complaint can be referred to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).
There has been a change to jurisdiction and the Tribunal that now handles Equal Opportunity matters is the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Outcomes from conciliation
There are four possible outcomes from conciliation.
Conciliation may lead to agreement between both sides. Agreements can include:
- changes to policies and procedures to prevent discrimination
- equal opportunity training
- job re-instatement or a transfer, promotion, training, adjustment to hours pay or conditions
- access to previously refused accommodation, entry to a club, admission to a course or a loan
- a private or public apology
- compensation for economic loss, damanges or injury to feelings.
If both sides agree, the complaint is settled.
Both the person who made the complaint and the person responding to the complaint sign a confidential agreement.
There is usually no liability attached to an agreement reached between the parties.
The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity then confirms in writing that the complaint has been conciliated. This usually ends any further action being taken.
After further discussion or more information, the person who made the complaint may withdraw or not continue with their complaint.
The Equal Opportunity Commissioner may decide not to continue to conciliate the complaint based on the information from both sides.
If both sides do not reach agreement, the person who made the complaint can ask the Commissioner to refer their case to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).
This is a public court hearing where the Tribunal can make a legal judgement about the case.